Jazz beat new-look Pistons in OT
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From the seat in front of his locker, Deron Williams turned to his left and knocked twice on the nearest piece of wood in sight. That was all Williams wanted to say about never having lost to the Detroit Pistons in his five-year NBA career.

The Jazz continued their remarkable streak Saturday night, beating the Pistons for the ninth consecutive time, though it was anything but cruise control in a 100-97 overtime victory before 18,355 at EnergySolutions Arena.

Opening a six-game homestand after Thursday's breakthrough victory in San Antonio, the Jazz (7-6) won their third straight game and continued to build momentum, having won four of their past five games dating to last week's Eastern Conference trip.

"It would have been a bad loss for us after having those two wins," said Williams, who totaled 14 points and 11 assists, "especially getting one on the back-to-back in San Antonio and then coming back and losing one at home.

"It'd be tough to swallow, especially when we've got this long homestand, we've talked about trying to go on a run right here."

Andrei Kirilenko led the Jazz with 22 points and 10 rebounds off the bench, hitting a three-pointer with a minute left in regulation as well as the go-ahead jumper to make it 96-94 with 2:24 remaining in overtime when his 19-footer kissed off the rim and in.

"I think the biggest thing," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said of Kirilenko, "is he seems to be playing with a lot more confidence shooting the ball than he has in a long time, maybe even [since] his first year."

As he came around a double screen, Williams looked back cross court to Kirilenko for the three-pointer late in the fourth quarter. "That's what happens," Williams said. "Guys worry about the cutters and they leave the shooters open and A.K. made a big shot for us

For the second consecutive game, Carlos Boozer was able to shake off a forgettable three quarters (3-for-8, five turnovers) with a fantastic finish. Boozer scored 10 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, hitting three jumpers down the stretch.

The last of those jumpers came as Boozer popped free for an 18-footer with 1:40 left in overtime after he and Paul Millsap had set a double screen for Williams. Boozer now has scored 20 points or more in four of the Jazz's last five games.

"We made the right play at the right time in the fourth quarter and overtime to have a chance to win," Boozer said.

The Jazz led 98-94 after Boozer's jumper, but still had to fight to the finish. Williams committed a turnover looking for Millsap off the pick-and-roll and missed a three-pointer with 31.9 seconds left. Will Bynum went 3-for-4 at the line to bring Detroit within a point.

They took out the ball trailing 98-97 with 25.5 seconds left. Bynum drove right on Williams -- who was playing with five fouls -- but lost the ball as he went up around the basket. Williams was credited with a block, his third of the game.

"I couldn't just let him go to the basket uncontested," Williams said. "If I had to foul him, I had to foul him. But I thought I played good 'D.' He lost the ball."

Kirilenko converted at the foul line to give the Jazz a three-point lead and Ronnie Brewer blanketed Ben Gordon, who missed a three-pointer at the buzzer. The Jazz never trailed in overtime and haven't lost to the Pistons since a 64-62 slugfest on March 13, 2005.

Even as the cast of characters has changed for Detroit -- Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince were out Saturday, Charlie Villanueva and Gordon signed as free agents, John Kuester took over as coach -- the Jazz's dominance has continued.

"It was a tough game for us," said Williams, who was furious with two foul calls on what he thought were blocks. "We just didn't seem like we had a lot of energy throughout the game. ... We had to win it on the defensive end and that's what we did."

The Jazz were able to force turnovers and get out on the break in the fourth quarter, but couldn't put away the Pistons. Eric Maynor was dropped to the floor on a layup bid. Brewer split two sets of free throws. Villanueva hit a three-pointer to give Detroit an 82-81 lead.

Sloan, however, could see the benefit in his team having to win a close game. "I think that's where you learn how to play and not play scared," he said.

rsiler@sltrib.com

Storylines

IN SHORT » The Jazz open their six-game homestand with an overtime victory over Detroit.

KEY MOMENT » Andrei Kirilenko's 19-footer with 2:24 to play in overtime puts the Jazz in front for good.

KEY STAT » The Jazz trail by five points in the fourth quarter as well as 82-81 with 4:07 to play in regulation.